The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. supreme court

    US Judge: Presidential Aides Can't Dodge Subpoenas

    The Justice Department says it will appeal a ruling by a Washington-based federal judge ordering ex-White House counsel Don McGahn to appear before congressional impeachment investigators. With her decision late yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson established that senior administration officials aren't immune to subpoenas just by invoking executive privilege. "Presidents are not kings," she wrote.

    Is this a victory for Democrats? Not exactly: While advisers can't refuse to show up, they're still free to stay quiet by invoking executive privilege on specific questions.

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    Albania Hit by Massive Earthquake

    At least nine people are dead and hundreds injured after a magnitude 6.4 tremor shook the southern European nation early today. Prime Minister Edi Rama said authorities were "intensively working to save lives" around the epicenter, around 20 miles north of the capital Tirana. The quake — described as Albania's worst in decades — was felt hundreds of miles away in northern Serbia.

    What's it like on the ground? Images from the affected sites depict collapsed buildings and rescuers rushing to pull survivors from the rubble.

  3. donald trump thumbs up shutterstock 1087344797

    Supreme Court Blocks Bid for Trump's Financial Records

    President Donald Trump scored at least a temporary legal victory yesterday as justices gave his lawyers more time to appeal rulings by lower courts that require Trump to turn over some of his financial records to Congress. The president's legal team has until Dec. 5 to prove why the Supreme Court should hear their case, which they say highlights a constitutional clash over the separation of powers.

    What might happen? If their petition is denied, previous rulings will stand and the records must be released — but if the top court agrees to hear the case, they could remain blocked until June.

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    Alibaba Stock Soars After Hong Kong Listing

    Shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant jumped more than 6 percent today after its debut on the semi-autonomous territory's stock exchange. With riot police stationed outside, exchange CEO Charles Li declared Alibaba — which opted to first go public in New York instead of Hong Kong in 2014 — has "decided to come home." The firm raised more than $11 billion in the secondary listing.

    Why does it matter? The better-than-expected performance is being described as a vote of confidence in Hong Kong's financial future, while a monthslong political crisis drags on.

    Don't miss OZY's Special Briefing on the territory's recent election.

  5. Also Important...

    A collision between two military helicopters in Mali yesterday left 13 French soldiers dead. Chinese state media outlets have sought to downplay the results of Hong Kong's recent elections, which opposition candidates overwhelmingly won. And German police are probing yesterday's theft of nearly 100 pieces of jewelry from the 500-year-old Royal Castle of Dresden.

    #OZYfact: Belgium's government spends as much on cleaning vouchers as it did on benefits for low-income adults and seniors. Read more on OZY.

    OZY needs you! Tell us about the last great film you saw, book you read, podcast you discovered or concert you went to ... and we'll share it in OZY's Weekender newsletter. Email your picks to


  1. 'Serial' Convict Loses Bid for Supreme Court Review

    Justices declined to hear the appeal of Adnan Syed, whose conviction for the 1999 murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee launched one of America's most popular podcasts. Journalist Sarah Koenig guided Serial listeners through Syed's case, along the way finding an alibi witness and cell-tower evidence his attorney had ignored. While lower courts found Syed should have a new trial, Maryland's top court denied his request.

    Is he out of options? Syed can't appeal his case in court, but he could follow the strategy of Brendan Dassey — the subject of Netflix's Making a Murderer — and seek clemency from the governor.

  2. Uber Fights On After Losing London License

    This ride isn't over. Yesterday the British capital's transportation agency stripped the ride-sharing giant of its license to operate, citing a "pattern of failures." That includes endangering riders on 14,000 trips with unvetted drivers pretending to be registered by uploading their photos onto other drivers' accounts. As its stock dipped Monday, Uber called London's decision "extraordinary and wrong," and vowed to appeal.

    What's next? Londoners can continue Ubering until appeals are exhausted, but if a ban ensues, expect new — and properly licensed — competitors steering into the breach.

    Don't miss OZY's feature on the rise of ride-sharing spinoffs.

  3. Is This Ugandan School Teaching the Next Greta Thunberg?

    With the stunning Rwenzori Mountains in the background, kids at the Kasese Humanist School are getting more than a standard education, OZY reports. Taught science and critical thinking at this modest institution some 10 hours outside Kampala, they're exposed to lessons in environmental awareness and even sex ed. That's no small feat in deeply conservative Uganda, whose future may well be shaped by graduates of such schools.

    Is the country changing? The first African nation to register a humanist organization, it's now home to several dozen groups with thousands of members.

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    'Rise of Skywalker' Script Was Almost Sold on eBay

    The force may well be with director J.J. Abrams, who revealed that a full script of the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was nearly auctioned online after a "sloppy" actor left it in their hotel room. Abrams, who isn't naming names, says it was found by a room cleaner who likely passed it on to the seller. An eagle-eyed Disney staffer came to the rescue, scooping up the script before it could be sold to an outside buyer.

    Do we know who left it? Some suggest it must have been one of the film's stars, since supporting actors weren't given the full script.

    Read OZY's profile of the director behind the first Latino superhero flick.

  5. WADA Committee Wants New Russian Doping Ban

    World Anti-Doping Agency officials claim Moscow provided neither "complete nor fully authentic" doping data — so the body's Compliance Review Committee has recommended a four-year ban that would keep Russia out of the next two Olympics. Switching urine test samples at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi earned the country a similar ban, but its athletes were allowed to compete independently in last year's Games in South Korea.

    What's next? WADA's Executive Committee will consider the recommended sanctions Dec. 9, after which Russia could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.